Tips for Buying Gift Cards

  
     
December 18, 2013
BBB advises shoppers to examine gift cards carefully to be sure they haven't been tampered with and to read the fine print to determine any fees or expiration dates.

BBB offers the following tips on buying gift cards:

  • Be cautious about buying gift cards from online auctions because it is virtually impossible to tell whether the cards have any value remaining, to determine whether they’ve been tampered with or to see if they’ve expired. 
  • When buying gift cards in a store, check the packaging and any security seals to be sure they are intact and haven’t been tampered with.
  • Check the fine print to see if there are fees associated with the card. Some typical fees could include transaction fees or inactivity fees. In some cases, an organization may charge a service fee to issue the card.
  • See if the card has an expiration date. In some cases, the plastic card may expire before the five-year redemption period. Are there fees to obtain a new card?
  • Check the terms and conditions on a gift card. If you are giving a card to a friend who wants to shop online, make sure the card can be used that way and not just in a store.
  • Consider the financial condition of the retailer or bank issuing the card. If you think the store may be on shaky footing, you may want to pass on buying a card.